Stay Away From Illegal Interview Questions

Choosing the right interview questions to ask a candidate can be challenging.  In an attempt to find the right candidate, the last thing a hiring manager wants to do is ask a question that sparks a discrimination lawsuit.  Unfortunately, many interviewers put the comJob Interviewpanies they work for at risk by asking off-limits questions.

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), asking questions on any of the following topics can result in discrimination charges:

  • Race, Color or National Origin
  • Religion
  • Sex, Gender, Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation
  • Pregnancy Status
  • Disability Status
  • Age or Genetic Information
  • Citizenship
  • Marital Status or Number of Children

All questions during an interview and on a job application should be directly related to whether or not the candidate is qualified to perform the job for which they are applying.  Here is an example of some off-limits questions that can result in a discrimination claim.

  • Do you own your own home or rent?
  • What year did you graduate from high school?
  • Have you ever been arrested?
  • Do you belong to any social or political groups?
  • How many days of work did you miss due to illness last year?
  • Are you married?
  • Do you intend to start a family?
  • Are you a US Citizen?
  • Do you have a bank account?
  • Do you have a disability?
  • What is your maiden name?
  • Are you taking any prescription medication?
  • What are your day care plans?
  • Are you divorced?
  • Have you ever been hospitalized?

It’s certainly understandable that as an interviewer you want to get to know a candidate before making an offer but asking questions that stray from whether or not they can perform the job may land you and your company in hot water.  Need assistance with interview questions?  Contact Kelly Mead, Director of HR Services today.

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